While all safari destinations will deliver an outstanding experience, South Africa should be considered a top contender.
An African Safari is a unique and exciting experience with safari parks and reserves located throughout Southern and East Africa. With many incredible options to choose from, narrowing it down to just one park or lodge can be challenging let alone which country.
Here are a few reasons to consider South Africa for your safari vacation.
Most people have heard of the Kruger National Park, situated in the Mpumalanga Province. It stands strong on the safari circuit but is only one of several well-established national parks. The oldest, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, is found in KwaZulu-Natal with options such as the Waterberg National Park and Greater Addo Elephant Park, a short drive from the hub cities of Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth respectfully. Open to the public, these parks offer local and international visitors the option of national lodgings and private concessions for a more inclusive experience.
The Greater Kruger Area gives way to the private Sabi Sands Game Reserve and other key safari reserves such as the Timbavati and nearby Kapama Game Reserves. Private reserves exist in KwaZulu-Natal, such as Phinda and the Eastern Cape, home to intimate safari experiences such as Lalibela, Kwandwe, and Kariega reserves. Madikwe Game Reserve is a conservation area in North West Province, bordering Botswana, and an excellent option for a private safari.
Whether it is a national park or a private reserve, guiding levels in South Africa are outstanding, ensuring quality game drives. Combine that with exceptional four and five-star lodging throughout, and you are guaranteed an unforgettable safari experience.
While travel styles vary and levels of luxury differ from person to person and place to place, there is a commonality in the sense of quality service and certain rituals guests expect when embarking on a four or five-star safari. Game drives are the essence of any safari; however, where one rests, reminisces, and refreshes play a pivotal role in the overall experience. From the greeting upon arrival to the intimate dining experiences, friendliness, and professionalism of the lodge staff to the feeling of being pampered, the theme runs through all varieties of accommodation in South Africa.
Larger hotel-style lodges provide a sense of resort-in-the-bush comfort for those looking for a non-secluded or remote option. Boutique lodges set deep in the bush with few rooms all privately positioned give a sense of exclusivity. Stand-alone villas complete with a sole-use game drive vehicle and butler appeal to some high-end travelers, and for some, a fenced property established to keep animals out and guests in is most important. “Glamping” is a term used to describe luxury camping in the bush. Classic canvas tents with en-suite bathrooms, many mobile, therefore leaving a lighter footprint on the environment.
South Africa is not only known as one of the top safari destinations in the world but is also known for its white sandy beaches. Including the Cape and the shores of Plettenberg Bay, the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, and for its proximity to the island destinations of Mozambique, Mauritius, and Seychelles, what better way to unwind after some action-filled safari days than on one of the coastal spots of South Africa or one of the idyllic Indian Ocean islands nearby.
Some opt to begin their African Safari vacation by relaxing on the beach, but most prefer to unwind at the end of their journey, surrounded by sea and sand. Safaris days can be full with early starts and so much to take in with emotions and senses heightened. Taking a few days to savor the beach is easy to coordinate often with a night post-safari in one of South Africa’s hubs to facilitate connecting flights and transfers. Combining these two experiences opens up a world of adventure as many beach destinations present culture, cuisine, and accommodation choices on par with those just enjoyed on safari.
After your South African safari, make a few more memories by discovering some regional gems. Within a couple of hours from Johannesburg or the Kruger area, connect with a new Southern African wonder. Just north of many well-known safari parks and reserves lies Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at the massive sheet of falling water at this Zimbabwe treasure. For a desert adventure, drive through the Sossusvlei sand dunes in Namibia at dawn. The red hues dance in the morning sun. Take a mokoro in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, and witness nature big and small from water level. Embark on one of many adrenalin activities in Livingstone, Zambia, expand your safari experience or dive into their culture as you learn and connect with some of their over 70 tribal groups.
One great draw for choosing South Africa for your safari is that several parks and reserves are located in malaria-free areas. Options like the Madikwe Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal parks, and Eastern Cape lodges offer the opportunity for those who have this as a prerequisite. During the optimum season, winter, the risk is super low in the other regions and famous parks, but for that added peace of mind, there are malaria-free options to consider.
Every traveler has certain priorities or preferences before selecting their desired destinations, and the above are just some of the factors travelers consider when planning their ideal safari itinerary. Learn more at our South Africa Safari Guide, and explore sample safari itineraries for more inspiration. Whatever your safari needs, your Zicasso safari specialist is a destination expert and ready to answer your questions to help you find the right destination for you. Ready to start planning? Fill out a Trip Request, or call our Traveler Care team at 1-888-265-9707.